Sunday, January 29th, 2023 18:20:50

Wake Up Schumi

Updated: April 12, 2014 11:10 am

It has been three months since the 45-year-old, father of two and the Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher has been in an artificially-induced coma. He suffered a serious head injury after colliding with a rock during a skiing accident in the French resort of Meribel. He is being treated at a hospital in Grenoble, where his family, including his wife Corinna, is maintaining a bedside vigil. Schumacher retired from racing in 2012 after a 19-year-old career. He won two titles with Benetton, in 1994 and 1995, before switching to Ferrari in 1996 and won five straight titles from 2000.

The F-1 champion is reported to have lost a quarter of his body weight since doctors placed him in an artificially-induced coma to help him recover from brain injuries sustained in a skiing accident last December. Schumacher’s weight had dropped from 75 kg to just 55 kg in the 83 days since he was placed in a coma, according to reports in German media. Officially, the injured driver is now in a “wake-up” phase as doctors gradually reduce his drug intake in an attempt to bring him out of his coma. Yet signs of recovery have been minimal. Doctors have warned Schumacher’s family and his fans around the world that this phase could take months to complete, as they continue to monitor him for the smallest improvements.

“His family is incredibly strong, they won’t let themselves be discouraged. They are here everyday. They are brave they accept the situation and try to carry on together with Michael. I have to say that the family is coping magnificently. I have great respect and admiration for them,” said the driver’s manager Sabine Kehm on asking about his family’s condition.

The seven-times world champion was in a stable but critical condition until late January and doctors started lowering his sedation level two weeks ago to wake him up progressively. The 45-year-old German has undergone two operations since sustaining brain injuries. Schumacher also had contracted pneumonia in January due to acute lung infection. Doctors treating Michael Schumacher have abandoned their attempt to bring him out of a coma after the F-1 star had contracted pneumonia while in intensive care unit in France.

But, with Doctor’s help he won the fight against pneumonia in a short span of time. “About 30 to 50 per cent of all patients who lie in coma as long as Michael Schumacher have get (pneumonia),” Andreas Pingel, medical director of the Centre for Spine Surgery and Neuro-Traumatology at BG Hospital in Germany told.

Earlier in February, Schumi’s family and fans badly hit by a spate of rumours spread across international social media such as Twitter about his death. But, the team of Doctor’s at Grenoble University Hospital denies all such rumours. Doctors told that Schumacher’s blood is thinned to prevent thrombosis and he is regularly turned and even stood straight up at times to keep blood flowing. He lies on a special air-filled mattress to prevent pressure sores and his urinary tract is under constant scrutiny. One bit of good news is that Schumacher’s age (45) and excellent physical condition will be a big help as his recovery continues. The biggest key is to eventually bring him out of the coma. Neurosurgeon Dr. Munther Sabarini told: “Schumacher’s brain cells will be working together like a Formula One team so if a driver shows weakness, then another driver takes over under the new situation. So it is with the brain cells.”

His family though confident about his recovery: “We are and remain confident that Michael will pull through and will wake up. There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know that this is the time to be very patient. It was clear from the start that this will be a long and hard fight for Michael. Michael has suffered severe injuries. It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation.”

The Indian Connection and Sachin’s Friendship

Talking about the Indian connection he has got lot of fans in India. It may be recalled that Indians started following F-1 majorly in the 90s. This was the time when Schumacher was making his mark as ‘the speed king’. There is close connection between Sachin Tendulkar and Schumacher too. The association began in 2002, when the German presented a Ferrari to Tendulkar for equalling Don Bradman’s record of 29 test hundreds. Michael Schumacher enjoyed a long and illustrious career, much like Sachin Tendulkar.

Schumacher and Sachin have met several times in Italy and India. They were last seen together at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011. Tendulkar waved the chequred flag in the same race won by Sebastian Vettel. Sachin has wished for his speedy recovery too.

It is then up to the doctors to do a great deal; physiotherapy, mental care, treatment of new or old diseases. Depending on the aid required the patient receives medication—usually called neuro vitamins—but the measures applied vary strongly from case to case. Despite some positive news surfacing at different times, overall the prognosis is not good with several people close to the situation saying only a miracle will see Schumacher come out of the coma. But he will be remembered as a legend till eternity.

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